This was an interesting read, I’ve heard of Carroll’s “Poetic Naturalism” before but haven’t had a…
Harrison Jennings

Thanks for the comment, Harrison Jennings, I appreciate your feedback and insight.

With regards to the Prime Mover Argument, you said that “No serious atheistic philosopher thinks the objection ‘who created God?’ is valid, whatsoever [my emphasis]”. Please consider the following quote from Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not a Christian (under the heading “THE FIRST CAUSE ARGUMENT”):

“I may say that when I was a young man and was debating these questions very seriously in my mind, I for a long time accepted the argument of the First Cause, until one day, at the age of eighteen, I read John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography, and I there found this sentence: ‘My father taught me that the question, “Who made me?” cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question, “Who made God?” ’ That very simple sentence showed me, as I still think, the fallacy in the argument of the First Cause. If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause.”


“There is no reason why the world could not have come into being without a cause; nor, on the other hand, is there any reason why it should not have always existed. There is no reason to suppose that the world had a beginning at all. The idea that things must have a beginning is really due to the poverty of our imagination. Therefore, perhaps, I need not waste any more time upon the argument about the First Cause.”

And although he’s not a philosopher, here’s Steven Hawking on the matter:

“For example, Aristotle, the most famous of the Greek philosophers, believed the universe had existed forever. Something eternal is more perfect than something created. He suggested the reason we see progress was that floods, or other natural disasters, had repeatedly set civilization back to the beginning. The motivation for believing in an eternal universe was the desire to avoid invoking divine intervention to create the universe and set it going. Conversely, those who believed the universe had a beginning, used it as an argument for the existence of God as the first cause, or prime mover, of the universe.
If one believed that the universe had a beginning, the obvious question was what happened before the beginning? What was God doing before He made the world? Was He preparing Hell for people who asked such questions?”

Your second point, that “theistic philosophers have given good reasons, for thousands of years [appeal to tradition?], for thinking of God in such ways [as defined?],” is on its face unconvincing—I’m not, like Dawkins, even sure theology is a subject at all; I remain unconvinced that theology is anything more than thinking in a vacuum (it’s top-down, intellectually sterile, morally bankrupt and incurious). I will take a look at the links you included in your comment, and I’ll try my best to read them with an open mind.

But even if the First Cause argument is sound—and I don’t think it is—the theist still has all their worked ahead of them to move, as Hitchens noted, from the first to the second position: from mere deism to the personal God of Abraham (Christian theism).

[I personally also enjoy Zizek’s reading of Christianity, towards “authentic atheism”; see The Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialectic?]

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

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